Head of Dr. W.E.B. Dubois

  • William Zorach, Head of Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, 1956, cast plaster on plaster base, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Tessim Zorach and Dahlov Ipcar, 1968.154.141

Execution Date

“To the artist, a sculptured head is registering in permanent form not only the likeness . . . but the spirit and sculptural character of the person.” William Zorach, Zorach Explains Sculpture, 1947

Luce Center Label

William Zorach modeled this portrait of W. E. B. DuBois from life and presented it to the Schomburg Collection on DuBois’ ninety-second birthday. DuBois was the first African American to earn a PhD from Harvard. A powerful black leader in the early twentieth century, he cofounded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As an author and educator, he played a significant role in the Harlem Renaissance, a period in which African American artists confronted race, discrimination, and identity through their works. Zorach, who lived in the same neighborhood as DuBois, greatly admired his positive impact on African American culture and felt that there should be “a record of this fine gentleman and scholar.”

Head of Dr. W.E.B. Dubois
On View
12 5/8 x 8 5/8 x 9 1/4 in. (32.1 x 21.9 x 23.4 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Tessim Zorach and Dahlov Ipcar

Mediums Description
cast plaster on plaster base
  • Occupation – writer – author
  • Ethnic – African-American
  • Portrait male – DuBois, W.E.B. – head
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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